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Henry Lawrence

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Henry Lawrence (1825-1908) of the Grange Iron Works

1908 Obituary [1]

HENRY LAWRENCE was born in London on 7th October 1825.

He commenced his engineering education as a pupil with the firm of Messrs. James Simpson and Co., of Pimlico, London, and made such progress that be was early put in charge of various contracts, of which may be mentioned the Whittle Done Waterworks, which gave the first gravity supply of water to Newcastle-on-Tyne, and the mechanical engineering work connected with the docks at West Hartlepool.

In 1852 he settled in Newcastle, having been appointed general manager of the Ouseburn Engine Works, but previously he had paid a visit to San Francisco in connection with gold mining which flourished there at that time. In those days the voyage was a long and tedious one, and the ship on which he commenced his return journey was wrecked on a small island in the Pacific. There was no water to be found on the island, and in due time the supply obtained from the wreck ran short. His engineering knowledge, however, stood him in good stead, and by means of tanks and other apparatus be was able to improvise a condensing plant so as to distil fresh water from the sea.

He remained at the Ouseburn Works for about four years when be was offered a position by his old firm, but in 1860 he returned to Newcastle to become manager of the Walker Iron Works, belonging to Messrs. Losh, Wilson and Bell. With this firm be remained eight years when be was appointed general manager of the Grange Iron Works, Durham, a position which he held for thirty years.

He then settled in Newcastle as a consulting engineer, and was actively employed to within a few clays of his death. While at the Grange Iron Works in 1878 be brought out, in conjunction with the late Mr. Daglish, an automatic expansion-gear for winding engines, which was extensively adopted and is at present in use on several colliery winding engines.

In 1883, in conjunction with the late Mr. Ogle, he invented a differential gear for large pumping engines, which was most successful; and in 1889 he designed and constructed at the Grange Iron Works for the De Beers Mine, Kimberley, the largest winding-engine and head-gear that had, up to that time, been sent to South Africa. He was held in high repute as a valuer of colliery plant.

His death took place at his residence at Jesmond, Newcastle-on-Tyne, on 23rd November 1908, at the age of eighty-three.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1867.

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